There have been numerous blessings with the advances of technology. It is possible to stay connected with family and friends all over the world, strengthening our ties with each other no matter where we are in located.
At the same time, technology, especially the smartphone can distract us from what truly matters in life. For example, do you ever find yourself mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? Or maybe you begin searching Google or YouTube for something in particular, but find yourself an hour later watching cat videos?
While taking a break from life and enjoying a little entertainment isn’t a bad thing, what can be harmful is when our idle behavior ignores those who matter most in our lives.
Unfortunately many of us are guilty of getting trapped within our phones or computers and ignoring our children, family members or friends. We might even find ourselves neglecting our duties at work because of our habit of constantly checking our phone to see what’s new on our social media feed.
This addicting habit of ours could be described by past spiritual masters as “idleness.” While our brain may not be idle while we scroll through our phone, we temporarily put our lives on hold when we do such things and are idle, not going forward with any specific purpose in mind. Smartphone entertainment has its time and place, but often we don’t restrict it and allow it to permeate every minute of our day.
Idleness can be spiritually harmful as it turns our souls inward, looking more at ourselves and our needs than those around us. It naturally leads to lazy behavior, where we neglect our responsibilities and do not live up to our vocation. Our child might be trying to ask us a question and instead of answering it, we ignore them and scroll through our phone.
While this behavior is difficult to change overnight, the first step is in acknowledging its negative effects and praying to God for help. We can’t do this alone and need God at our side in order to overcome our temptations. Don’t be afraid to ask God for help in balancing technology and our primary duties in life.
Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (United States & Canada)